(For Our Children And Any Other) No.

2 11 2012

Part Two:

When you were very little you wanted everything in sight and you had no discretion. If something was within reach, it had an appeal. It might have been a Cheerio, having rolled under the table; it might have been a button. It might have been a tube of toothpaste, or glue. You wanted the stereo cords and the cupboard doors, and whatever was in your parent’s nightstand drawer.

You couldn’t tell a real knife from a plastic one; a candy from a pill; a doorway from a stairwell. You had no discernment at all and continually wobbled towards danger.

We had to say No.

At first it was just No; and then it was No with an explanation; and then it was No with a sometimes lengthy discussion or several rounds of it; but it has been No all the same, which has to be in a parent’s vocabulary if they are going to discipline their children well.

No is difficult to swallow, isn’t it, child?

No can be taken lightly, without proper thought or respect. In this case it can make us resentful, angry, or defiant. Or, failing to see the love and intention behind it, it can crush us. In this case we can feel hurt, disappointed, or deflated.

God is well aware of walking this tightrope; in parenting His much bigger family, He has seen that correction can be taken two ways. To us all He reasons:

My dear child, don’t shrug off/take lightly God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either
It’s the child He loves that He disciplines;
the child He embraces, He also corrects (Hebrews 12:5-6).

No, and other words which impose a restriction, are to be taken seriously but we are also meant to understand something: the only reason a restriction even exists, is because we are highly treasured members of His family.

In the very next verse it says, “Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves,” letting them stumble around in the dark, never being brave enough to say No. We might be concerned about another child who is making poor choices, but we are intimately connected to you, our own child: we know your voice, we have listened to your heart, we know your dreams.

  • We would rather that we could open every door.
  • We would rather that we could offer every opportunity.
  • We would rather that there would never be a cross word between us.
  • But above all that, we would rather see you thrive now and in your life to come.

It is for this reason we are vigilant on the road, sometimes before you and sometimes behind you, and with older eyes we see what you don’t pay attention to. It is for this reason we catch your arm, with enough pressure (not too lightly, but not too firmly) and we say No.

— Teresa Klassen

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